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The car thermometer read 13 degrees (F) this morning. I realize, having lived in Omaha for 3 years, that 13F is a heat wave in some parts of the country. But in Northern Virginia, it's the deep freeze.

I am tired of standing on the chickens' waterbucket. I pull it out of the coop, frozen solid, flip it over outside the barn and stand on it to break the ice away from the rubber walls. Then I have to roll the sides to get the ice to fall out. You can tell how cold it's been for how long by how many piles of unmelted ice there are. I did this to the other waterbucket in the run and forgot there's a six-foot roof. Standing on the bucket didn't work that morning, so I jumped on it. And promptly banged my head on the boards holding up the wire on top of the run. Ow.

The chickens are managing pretty well. We've had 13 since last May. We don't lose them to hawks now that their run is properly covered. But one passed away this week. It was a heavy biddy and I'm guessing it was Gimpy, the last of the original chickens. She'd be pretty old by now. RIP Gimpy. Her body awaits a proper burial from Weatherdude. We're expecting a warming trend this weekend.

So 12 chickens and we're getting at least 6 eggs every day, sometimes 1-2 more. Not bad for the depth of winter and half these chickens are about two years old. The other six are just shy of one year old. I've had a request to bring dozens of eggs with my to Philly next weekend for the workshop. I might be able to find some lying around the fridge.

Frog Out



( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 11th, 2011 03:16 pm (UTC)
RIP Gimpy.

Stay warm. Those are crazy cold temperatures for northern VA. It's been in the mid-40s to 50s here all week. Great riding weather in the afternoon (except I've been sick, bleh).

Feb. 12th, 2011 12:46 am (UTC)
So why a proper burial for a chicken instead of a proper frying?
Feb. 12th, 2011 02:21 am (UTC)
#1 You can't eat something that has a name. This was Gimpy, an old friend.

#2 You'd have to be starving to cook up a six year old hen who was bred to lay eggs. There's not much worth eating. The chicken you buy at the store was never a layer and was less than a year old.

Feb. 12th, 2011 02:48 am (UTC)
Since I'm seriously considering killing squirrels in the backyard to make Brunswick Stew, my sense of what's edible is obviously out f kilter.
Feb. 12th, 2011 10:46 am (UTC)
Oh, no comparison. Squirrel is considered mighty tasty. Old hen is completely different. Happy to offer you a corpse that's been deep frozen all week. Speak up fast because it's not going to stay frozen...oh wait, it might have thawed out yesterday afternoon. Never mind.
Feb. 12th, 2011 01:12 am (UTC)
Some sentences just resonate. "I am tired of standing on the chickens' waterbucket" is one of those sentences. ; )

Years ago, before I was married with children, I lived in an apartment attached to the barn, and acted as barn manager on evenings and weekends. In the depths of winter, the outdoor waterers could not defeat the cold, and froze up. I remember lugging buckets of water through knee-deep snow to the horses...at the time, it was hard work and I wished for it to be over. Now? Fond memory...

I hope you get your warming trend!
Feb. 12th, 2011 02:23 am (UTC)
Outdoor pump is frozen, yes. I lug a large watering can of water every day when it's super cold and I clear one of the two rubber buckets every other day. They don't like snow, so lately I've only been doing the bucket in the coop. But now they're starting to go outside again so the pattern will change again.

Brrr. An apt attached to a barn seems a bit chilly. Unless those animals were throwing some serious heat.
Feb. 12th, 2011 02:59 am (UTC)
It had all the amenities of home, including heat, so I was quite comfortable. I loved hearing the horses in their stalls at night...it was very comforting. The only downside was having to share my bathroom with the boarders, and the SPIDERS!! ICK!
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )